With winter fast approaching and the outside temperature dropping faster than pine needles on an indoor Christmas tree, I’ve been learning to love my treadmill. My first choice is always to run outside. I crave fresh air, sunshine, and the rhythm of my feet on pavement, but some days it’s just not possible. So for convenience, safety, and the simplification of my morning routine the treadmill has some great benefits. If you’re thinking about getting a treadmill here are 5 reasons why I love mine.
Injury Prevention: The combination of high miles, speed work, and races can increase our chances for an injury. Running on the treadmill is an option that is easier on the joints than running on roads or pavement. If you run regularly, including some treadmill workouts will reduce the impact on your joints and can reduce the risk of injury. If you are recovering from an injury or have problems with your joints, I’ve found that a treadmill offers a way to mitigate some of those issues. After the impact of hill training or a hard race it’s amazing how cushioned and comfortable a treadmill feels on your legs.
Safety: Although it’s not the most glamorous setup having my treadmill nestled next to my car and my water heater, I love the safety of my garage. I never have to run with pepper spray. I never have to worry about remembering to wear reflective gear or bringing my headlamp. I never have to wonder, “Does that car see me?” Plus it reduces your chances of a pothole related face plant by 99.9% (which happens at least once a year on a dark and early run).
Less Laundry-Hat, gloves, a base layer, tights, compression socks, sports bra, and a jacket; one winter run seems like the laundry equivalent of three summer runs. I’m running out of hooks in my laundry room to air dry clothes and I can’t imagine households where there is more than one runner. My poor sister has 5 runners in her house! I love that I don’t have to set aside extra time to put on all those extra layers, it literally lightens the load.
Speed Work-On a treadmill I love the ability to “set it and forget it.” When I have a certain pace I am trying to maintain, it simplifies the process and the pain for me. I am able to take the thinking out of it, let my legs run, and some days hang on for dear life. Here are two great speed training workouts that helped the time fly on the treadmill:
Workout 1: 3x 2miles repeats
Warm-up with 2 easy miles
Rotate through each set of miles at a little faster than your marathon goal pace and take a half mile rest back to your easy pace after each set.
Cool down with an easy mile.
*There was nothing easy about this one, but the time went by fast.
Workout 2: Fartleks
2 mile warm-up
8 min hard
5 min easy
5 min hard
3 min easy
3 min hard
2 min easy
2 min hard
2 mile cool-down
*I actually really liked this workout.
Catch up on Entertainment-Between family, work and greeting the day at 4 am, I can’t stay up to watch TV at night. It’s usually lights out by 9 pm. So it’s nice to be able to have a two-fold mental time-out in the morning. I always have to cover the console with a towel or it feels like the longest 60 minutes of my life, but watching your favorite show works as a great distraction. I like to think of a treadmill workout as two episodes of “House Hunters” or one and a half episodes of “Parenthood.” (I started rewatching “Parenthood” because I’m still in denial that the show is really over. I hope NBC brings it back, I need details on how Julia and Joel are doing now.) Chunking a run into one or two of your favorite shows is a great way to build up some resistance to the boredom factor many people feel on a treadmill. I also love the Audible app for listening to books, and for longer training runs when the treadmill is my only option, movies work great too.